I’ve made no bones that I think of myself more as a centrist than anything else when it comes to political thought. Yes, I stray more toward the liberal end of the spectrum particularly when it comes to matters of social justice.
Now, why would I emphasize the word spectrum in the last paragraph? Because we seem to have forgotten that no issue in this world is a simple binary set. Yes, there are oppositional states, but the human brain is never quite so limited to the simplistic idea that something is either/or.
What does that have to do with this election? Quite a bit, actually.
We have two different sets of people acting in two different kinds of anti-social behavior. But both kinds of anti-social behavior are based in one simple emotion: Fear.
Yes, I am saying that the reports of (and actual happenings of) hate speech and behavior are based in fear. It is a fear that these people have lived with, but suppressed expression of it because it was socially inappropriate. With a President-Elect Trump, they are given what they see as permission to actually start expressing that fear in ways that make them feel more powerful.
On the other hand, we have a far clearer expression of fear. Millions are expressing that fear of exactly the anti-social behavior in the previous paragraph. Hell, I’ve personally been attempting to work through my own fears relating to this election.
Before I move on to hopefully a way through these fears, let me remind you — my dear readers — that I have been working deep into confronting my fears, because you cannot recover from severe depression and anxiety without examining and working through the root causes of those fears.
I hold on to a hope that both sets of people will eventually move past the immediacy of the fear. Maybe that makes me a Pollyanna, but I choose not to believe that my fellow humans are inherently evil.
On the more conservative side of things, I’ve been somewhat disappointed in the response to liberal fear. Those who are committing hate crimes, who are vocally attacking (or encouraging the attacking) others who are different from them (including small children, copying their parents’ behavior) are very scary. But, it’s only early days yet. It is very difficult to sustain such activities without some leader continuing to whip the mob mentality into a frenzy. President-Elect Trump, just like every President before him, is going to be extremely busy between now and January making sure that there will be an efficient transfer of power (setting up his Cabinet, getting up to speed on the things he MUST know in order to lead the country). There is a reason that EVERY President we’ve ever had has looked decades older at the end of his presidency. It is one of the most stressful jobs in this world.
I’m more disappointed in those conservatives who are closer to the middle of the spectrum. They are being dismissive of the fear of their political opposition. They are using it as just another excuse to belittle those who think differently than they do. This ranges from small digs to outright abusive commentary. Now, a little of this is understandable. The liberal side of things certainly did their own dismissive behaviors when President Obama won (at both elections). But, if it continues, if these people don’t move on from those behaviors, then they — not President-Elect Trump — are encouraging the fringe’s behaviors.
Now, we are seeing a movement toward dealing with the fear on the liberal side. There is the discussion of showing solidarity using a safety pin on your clothing. This is actually a very good idea, and should have been brought up much earlier than this election.
This is where I am angry at many of my fellow “white” Americans who are more liberal than myself. Remember what I said about my opinions on social justice? Well, quite frankly, the idea of making sure there is a way for those who are “different” to know that there is someone who is willing to stand up for them and with them should have been developed a LONG time ago.
I made a comment earlier this week on Facebook. What disappoints me about the “white” liberal Americans (particularly the “white, heterosexual, Christian, cis” male Americans) is that they are finally experiencing the fears that the demonized, different other has been feeling almost since the founding of this country. And they are losing their minds to the fear.
Yet, again, the privilege of the “white” liberal Americans shows itself. There are already attempts to take the lead in combating the hate and ameliorating the fear. The same exact issues that people of color, women, LGBTQ, Native Americans (and the list goes on) have been fighting, the same exact fear they have been feeling (depending upon where their own intersectionality spectrum lays) for their entire lives is being forced upon people who have never felt it before.
You would think that someone who has only now started feeling what others have felt for decades would turn to those who have the experience to learn how to live with it. But, no. They have to shuffle those people aside and try to take over.
Well, not me.
I may often need to learn things the hard way, or try my own way before I consult others. But not in this case. I may have lived with the fears of being a woman, the fears of being a fat woman in our society, the fears of being poor and helpless. But I haven’t been living in constant fear, not until more recently. My experience is lacking in many ways.
I’m sure it sounds like bullshit when I say that it is time for me to shut up and step back, but I still continue to blog. I do NOT have the answer to this situation. But I do know it is not my time to lead. I can only follow my elders and hope we as a country can survive and evolve past this challenge.